Historic 18th-century fortress of Fort George built after the Jacobite rebellion could crumble into the sea as water levels are set to rise by up to three feet by 2100

  • Aerial analysis reveals the impact of global warming on the vanishing coastline 
  • The historic site is susceptible to accelerated decay because of its position
  • Forecasts say that by 2100 sea levels in the area could rise one meter higher 
  • The findings were revealed in Scotland in the Sky, a series featuring aerial photography and footage, presented by James Crawford

Fort George is losing a battle with the coastal impact of climate change and rising seas, according to a climate expert.

The 18th century stronghold’s exposed coastal location leaves it vulnerable to violent storms likely to hasten corrosion of its walls, buildings and lands. 

Following the battle of Culloden, the final confrontation of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, George II created Fort George as the ultimate defence against further attacks.

It was used as a military base for both world wars and parts of the site, near Iverness, continue to operate as a barracks.

But now the historic site, which is susceptible to accelerated decay because of its coastal position, is under threat against natural hazards.

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Fort George is losing a battle with the coastal impact of climate change and rising seas, according to a climate expert. The 18th century stronghold’s exposed coastal location leaves it vulnerable to violent storms likely to hasten corrosion

According to the latest projections, by 2100 sea levels in the area could rise up to one meter higher.

Currently sea levels are rising at 3-4 mm a year and that figure is increasing, according to the Times.

Historic Environment Scotland and the army have already installed rock armour in a bid to protect the site. 

The findings were revealed in Scotland in the Sky, a series featuring aerial photography and footage, presented by James Crawford.

In the first part, which airs tomorrow, Crawford visits Fort George to see the impact the erosion of the coastline could eventually have on the near 300-year-old garrison.

‘From up high you can read the landscapes of Scotland, see things you could never see down on the ground,’ he said.

‘You can glimpse Scotland’s hidden past and better understand how we’ve lived and how we’ve changed our environment over millennia. It’s the closest you can ever get to time travel.’ 

The historic site, which is susceptible to accelerated decay because of its coastal position, is under threat against natural hazards

Historic Environment Scotland and the army have already installed rock armour in a bid to protect the site. The findings were revealed in Scotland in the Sky, a series featuring aerial photography and footage, presented by James Crawford. Pictured, a castle on the site

In the first part, which returns tomorrow, Crawford visits Fort George, near Inverness, to see the impact the erosion of the coastline could eventually have on the near 300-year-old garrison It returns tomorrow

The three-part series makes use of the millions of archive pictures held by Historic Environment Scotland to tell the country’s story from above.

Crawford said he wanted to use the platform to warn of the potentially catastrophic effect we are having on our history – before it’s too late. 

His connection to the aerial archives stretches back a decade to when he began working with the Royal Commission, now part of Historic Environment Scotland. 

Fort George was built on a monumental scale, making use of sophisticated defence standards, with heavy guns covering every angle.

It was one of the ruthless measures introduced by the government to suppress Jacobite ambitions after the nearby Battle of Culloden. 

According to a report outlining the climate change risk to Scotland’s historic sites, over 300 sites in the care of Historic Environment Scotland are at ‘climate change risk’.

WHAT WAS THE JACOBITE REBELLION of 1745-6?

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion was a turning point in British history. 

Believing the British throne to be his birthright, Charles Edward Stuart, aka the ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, planned to invade Great Britain along with his Jacobite followers and remove the Hanoverian ‘usurper’ George II.  

The Jacobites were encouraged and assisted by Britain’s enemies, in particular the French, who saw support for the Stuarts as a way of distracting Britain from its military campaigns overseas.  

There was a series of revolts and major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719.

Charles launched the rebellion on 19 August 1745 at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands and was successful in capturing Edinburgh.

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion was a turning point in British history. Believing the British throne to be his birthright, Charles Edward Stuart, aka the ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, planned to invade Great Britain along with his Jacobite followers

The Scots agreed at councils to invade England after Charles assured them of Jacobite support and a simultaneous French landing in Southern England.

But on reaching Derby, they decided to turn back as many felt thney had gone too far.

The invasion route had been selected to cross areas considered strongly Jacobite but the promised English support failed to materialise.

They were also now outnumbered and in danger of having their retreat cut off. 

The decision was supported by the vast majority but caused an irretrievable split between Charles and his Scots supporters. 

 There was a series of revolts and major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719. Charles launched the rebellion on 19 August 1745 at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands and was successful in capturing Edinburgh. Here, an impression of the uprising in 1716

The battle of Culloden ended in April and completely ended the Rebellion with significant backing for the Stuart cause. 

Charles escaped to France and was unable to win support for another attempt to invade. he died in Rome in 1788.

Fran Caine, Assistant Events Manager at Historic Environment Scotland, said: ‘The Jacobite Risings form an important period in Scottish history. 

‘Spanning around 60 years, these events shaped the Scotland, and in particular the Highlands, of today and their legacy is still visible in battlefields and defences – such as Fort George. 

Fort George was built by the Government after the rebellion in a ‘strategic move to stop any further Risings by the Jacobites’.

 

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